The Big Lebowski

Not sure if David Thompson's ambivalence about the Coens pre-2003 was shifted by No Country for Old Men and A Serious Man, both of which are a level removed / raised / above their earlier work (that I have seen). But I'm in agreement with Thompson's view that The Big Lebowski "felt too cute by half, like a film watching itself, more intent on being droll that life". The Coens are particularly interested in men tripped-up and entangled in forces beyond their control and understanding – a horror at the feeble sovereignty we can assert over our lives. With the Dude, the Coens celebrate one possible way to survive the chaos underlying our experience of the world – a tumbleweed blown around by events, oblivious, abiding. But the camaraderie between Jeff Bridges, John Goodman and Steve Buscemi rarely goes beyond a joke. And the entire film is framed in this really self-satisfied, condescending way – Sam Eliott's "The Stranger" appearing at the start, middle and end to add nonsensical, empty "depth"...

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